Course Syllabus

Welcome to 7th Grade Social Studies

Instructor Information

Bryan Duroy

Popham House-Room P186-

Extra Help- After School Monday-Thursday; Before School, By Appointment

Instructor Name

Email address

Location, Office Hours



I hope you all had a relaxing summer vacation. I look forward to an exciting and challenging school year, in which each of you will become an active member of my class.  We will be engaging in thoughtful discussions, debates, simulations, trials and projects throughout the school year.  This course will help you understand the foundations of American History from the European arrival to the New World through the Civil War. 

Students will learn how the decisions made in the past play a role in today’s society, as we continually examine current events and compare them to the historical time period we are studying. Learning history is more than just facts, it is about critically examining the decisions and actions made throughout history to help prepare ourselves for the future.

A Sampling of Guiding Questions for our Class

The following are some of the questions we will be contemplating and discussing during the school year:

  • Why did people decide to settle in the Americas?
  • In what ways are societies influenced by economics and geography?
  • How did slavery influence the development of American society and politics?
  • How did democratic institutions and ideas develop in America?
  • Why do revolutions begin?
  • Why is government necessary in a society?
  • What political ideals are embedded in our Constitution?
  • How does our Constitution protect individual rights and limit the power of government?
  • What role did executive leadership play in events leading to the Civil War? Was the Civil War preventable?
  • How do the issues of our past relate to issues of today both domestically and internationally?

Expectations and Goals

Students will acquire and develop skills of inquiry and historical thinking as outlined in the New York State Social Studies Framework (see below). Social studies skills such as causation, comparison and geographical reasoning will be studied. In addition, through various project throughout the year, by the end of course, students will develop their literacy skills.  This course will also seek to provide students with the opportunity to acquire and enhance their communication skills, collaboration with others, innovation, critical thinking, and information, media and technology skills, in order to help them succeed both inside and outside of the classroom.

Please refer to the NYS Social Studies Framework starting on page 88 for 7th Grade:­york­state­k­12­social­studies­framework ­

Note: The Framework is not meant to serve as a comprehensive list nor is it meant to be a curriculum guide. Not all of the content and concepts listed in the Framework will be studied. If you have any questions, please contact me for clarification.

Course Materials

  • The following textbook was chosen across all the Middle School Houses, and will be used throughout the school year as a reference tool and study resource:

 “Everything you Need to Ace American History in One Big Fat Notebook: Complete Middle School Edition”, Lily Rothman, Workman Publishing, 2016.

All students will be issued one copy of this textbook.  If a student loses/misplaces the school issued textbook, they will be responsible for replacing it at his/her own expense.

  • We will also be reading articles in “Upfront Magazine”, which is published by Junior Scholastic.  This bi-weekly magazine includes articles pertinent to the period of history we will be studying as well as articles related to current events.  All students have been provided with a one year subscription of the magazine.
  • Supplies: 1 Binder, 2 dividers, Paper, 1 set of Earbuds, Pens, Pencils, Highlighter
  • You must come to class every day with your social studies binder, a pen or pencil and any materials needed for that day (e.g., ACE textbook, earbuds).
  • All homework, classwork, notes, and communications will be posted on my webpage.
  • You should create a folder in Google Drive for all work since we will be using Drive throughout the year.   Label it SS7 and for each unit create a new folder.   This is your online notebook.  The more organized you are the more successful you will be.

Units of Study

  • Roots of History/Current Events/Historical Thinking Skills
  • Three Worlds Collide: Exploration/Slavery/Colonization
  • Revolution
  • Human Rights
  • Government/ Constitution
  • Presidential Powers/Expansion
  • Sectionalism and Civil War


Here are a few of the “big ideas” students will learn in this class:

  • Students will understand that people have natural rights and governments are created to protect those rights.
  • When a government is destructive of the natural rights of men, the people have the right and duty to overthrow that government.
  • Governing documents reflect the values of the society.
  • In a democratic society, all citizens have rights and responsibilities.


Homework is an extension of what we learn in class and what we will be learning. You should expect homework to be assigned Monday-Thursday nights.  Homework is necessary in order for you to be able to participate in classroom activities and discussions.  Daily homework assignments will be posted in the classroom and posted on my webpage. Homework will be graded for effort and completion in most cases, but sometimes it will be collected and graded for accurate responses. The first two quarters you will receive half credit for homework submitted late.  Homework for a particular unit that is submitted after the unit is completed will receive a zero. In Quarters 3 and 4 no late homework will be accepted.

Quizzes, Tests, Projects, and Writing (e.g., Essays):


  • The best time to study is every night.  The more you understand the material each night the less you will feel overwhelmed.
  • Quizzes are typically short and assess your knowledge of an area of study or concept we are working on.
  • Tests will be given at the end of an entire unit. Students will usually be accompanied by a study guide.
  • Projects range from small to large and vary in format.  Projects will focus on crucial ideas of a unit.
  • Many projects will have an oral component. Speaking well is an essential skill for success both inside and outside of the classroom.
  • Unless otherwise specified, you should write in complete sentences on quizzes, tests, projects, and related assignments.  Writing is an essential component of social studies, and the written assignments I give to you are meant to enhance your knowledge of concepts as well as your literacy and writing skills.  I will provide feedback on your written assignments, both formally and informally, throughout the year.

Grading Policy

Students must demonstrate competency on all skills and tasks performed in class.  Students will be evaluated throughout the school year, both during the learning process (formative assessment), and at the conclusion of a learning process, such as a test at the end of a unit (summative assessment).  The focus for this class is on your growth and progress throughout the school year.   

Your grade in this class will be based on the following:

  • Homework
  • Class Participation, Preparation, and Classroom Disposition
  • Test, Quizzes
  • Projects (Individual and Group)
  • Written Assignments

Classroom Website

The following is a link to my online classroom: